Picture books are the most common form of children's literature. An exploration of picture books allows students to examine how meaning is constructed through both visual and written language
A picture book is not the same as an illustrated story.
In an illustrated story the words alone could tell the story and the illustrations simply break up the words or decorate the text.
In the best picture books, the illustrations are absolutely necessary. They carry parts of the story or narrative and in some cases the language is dropped and the pictures alone are all that is needed.
|The Rabbits- written by John Marsden and illustrated by Shaun Tan,
is a partly allegorical
fable about colonisation, told from the viewpoint of the
An unseen narrator describes the coming of
‘rabbits’ in the most minimal detail, an encounter that is at
first friendly and curious, but later darkens as it becomes
apparent that the visitors are actually invaders.
The style of
the book is deliberately sparse and strange, with both text
and image conveying an overall sense of bewilderment and
anxiety as native numbat-like creatures witness
environmental devastation under the wheels of a
strange new culture.
visit John Marsden's website
"One reason for the initial controversy is that The Rabbits is a picture book,
and therefore thought to be children’s literature, and wrongly assumed to be didactic,
whereas it had been originally conceived as a book for older readers, and generally difficult to categorise. Shaun Tan visit his website
Some children may get a lot out of it, but generally it defies most picture book conventions
and is not necessarily a good choice for pleasant bedtime reading!"
To 'see' the book follow the links below.
The Rabbits (part 1)
The Rabbits (part 2)
THE ARRIVAL assignment
- written by Margaret Wil, pictures by Ron Brooks
This brilliant narrative explores an intense emotional drama of
love and belonging, temptation, risk and betrayal. The text and illustrations work together seamlessly to evoke a
powerful and lasting response in the reader.
Margaret Wild lives in Sydney. She is the author of many acclaimed picture books, including The Very Best of
Friends, First Day, Tom Goes to Kindergarten, Old Pig and Rosie and Tortoise.
“As with most of my stories, it is the emotions in the text which interest me most.” Margaret Wild
Ron Brooks' illustrations and hand-lettering add to the myth-like feel of the story.
This print, the use of collage and the reds and ochres prevalent in the book all combine to create an illusion of age, as if this a story created long ago and perhaps drawn on ancient parchment or etched on a cave wall.
The dark colours of the illustrations also reflect the serious tone of the tale.
With this tone, Fox may not make for fun bedtime reading, but it is an outstanding book which kids will be drawn to and which will encourage discussion about friendship, loyalty and betrayal.
| || |My Place
- by Nadia Wheatley and Donna Rawlins
My Place, the children's book, was originally written to celebrate the 1988 bicentenary of Australia.
It presents the stories of 21 child characters, one for each decade since 1788.
Many of the child characters are linked through family across generations.
The story is set in Sydney but could be in any part of Australia. The essential elements in all the stories are the fig tree, the map and the creek.
Each is symbolic of the land and its sustenance of the people who live there. It links the 'place' to the original owners of the land and highlights how many people and many cultures now share it.
Through the stories, we imagine what life was like for all the characters.
visit My Place website
click the picture to hear interview with Nadia Wheatley
| || |Way Home
Libby Hathorn with illustrations by Gregory Rogers
It's night in the city and a boy, Shane, finds a cat who's angry and frightened.
Placing the cat in his jacket, Shane heads home.
The way home isn't easy.
There are real dangers everywhere for both travelers, but Shane is well acquainted with the night and the city.
He runs from some dangers and faces others, all the time reassuring the cat.
visit Libby Hathorn's website
With stunning illustrations by Gregory Rogers, this is the story of Shane and a cat with no name as they wander the streets at night on their way home.
In 1995, Gregory won the Kate Greenaway Medal for his illustrations in WAY HOME.
He is the first Australian illustrator ever to have won this prestigious British award.
Dedicated to the largely unsung, mostly unseen workers for young people in need, this evocative picture book by Libby Hathorn will stir hearts everywhere.